Normal is Killing Us
I've been thinking about all the things that used to be normal.
It used to be normal to own someone. It used to be normal to work them to death. It used to be normal for a man to beat his wife and force her to have sex. It used to be normal to steal an entire group of people's land and then give it to someone else. It used to be normal to exterminate an entire race. It used to be normal to sterilize anyone who society didn't want having kids.
You might think we've come a long way.
We haven't, not really.
The first world outsourced its cruelty. We've put a kinder face on it. We don't get our hands dirty. For instance: We say we're against genocide, but we're funding genocide in Yemen. We've given the Saudi military more than $50 billion. They've used it to bomb schools and hospitals.
Last year, the White House threatened to veto a bill that would've ended some of that support. Apparently our relationship with oil rich nations outweighs our party's ethics. A lot of Americans don't get very worked up over war crimes when it doesn't serve their interests.
If you remember the 2022 world cup in Qatar, the soccer stadiums were built by forced labor. They worked hundreds of migrants to death. They died from injuries but also from dehydration. They weren't allowed to leave.
Forced labor continues all around the world, even in the U.S.
We turn a blind eye to it for one simple reason:
The far right scream all day long about child trafficking. They won't lift a finger when it's someone's uncle doing the abuse.
They do nothing about school shootings.
None of us really want to think about where our stuff comes from. We don't want to think about who made it or under what conditions. Millions of young women probably think they're ethical or even green. They have no idea that fast fashion companies work their employees 16 hours a day 7 days a week. They subject them to verbal and even physical abuse.
Most westerners get tired of hearing this, but Americans have essentially erased the vulnerable and disabled from public life. So have Britons and Canadians. They've decided their lives are worth less. They've decided to expose themselves and everyone else to constant reinfection from a virus that kills you. There's no doubt about this anymore.
One of the leading Covid minimizers shrugs it off.
"Have fun," he says.
They want normal at any cost, even if the normal kills them. They want it even if it ruins their health and destroys the planet.
The public talks about a mental health crisis, but they're not talking about the right one. We have a mental health crisis when a large portion of the population ignores a burning world for the sake of normal. We have a mental health crisis when they're willing to kill each other for...
We have a mental health crisis of tech bros who think they're going to live on Mars with billionaires. We have a mental health crisis of rich people who think it's liberal to pay another country to fight their wars.
Some of us know all about normal and how it's used to justify crimes against humanity and war against the planet. Pull any single individual aside and ask them if they really think it's a good idea to render the world uninhabitable for the sake of short-term comforts and conveniences.
They'd tell you no, that's crazy.
Then they get marched into the parade of normal. Our dominant media and all of its advertising wizardry convince them it's okay to take a vacation. It's okay to buy a bigger truck, as long as it's electric.
Here's the worst part:
We're often forced to participate in this current version of normal. We have to make an income. We have to work a job, probably two jobs. Sometimes we have to consume disposable goods. Walk around the average American neighborhood and describe what you see. There's no sidewalks. You can't walk to the grocery store. You can't walk to your workplace.
If you try, you'll get run over.
That's normal by design.
Some of us manage to escape this normal. It takes a considerable amount of effort and planning. It takes time. It doesn't happen overnight.
Normal doesn't leave you alone, either. Normal comes looking for you, with its property taxes and home owners' associations.
The economic and social system we live in is designed to trap people there. It's designed to make them think they can't have something better. It's designed to make them think it's somehow okay.
As we've seen throughout history, it's possible for 70 percent of a society to get things wrong, very big things.
Social psychologists and historians know all too well how easy it is to use peer pressure, prejudice, and bias to convince a majority of the public to go along with plans they know will get them killed. They know that a large number of the public are willing to say the wrong answer to a question if it grants them social acceptance and prestige. They know we're capable of rewriting history as it happens and ignoring facts right in front of us.
We hear crazier things every day.
It probably feels normal to go to a Taylor Swift concert. It feels normal to sit inside a classroom without any air filters. It feels normal to eat inside a nice restaurant. It feels normal to buy cheap plastic. It feels normal to buy a shirt or a dress online because it looks cute, even if it only lasts three wears.
That doesn't make it right.
We're feeling the consequences of our relentless normal. We just lived through the hottest summer in human history. There's so many major disasters unfolding every week, we can't even keep track.
Even that's normal now.
Our government and the corporate media spent three months lying to us about a virus that still hasn't gone away, all because we keep worshiping a dead normal. We have a pilot shortage, and the ones who can fly are hiding serious health conditions. Almost every state is having to lower standards to fill teacher vacancies. Even then, they still don't have enough. The school year has barely started, and schools are already closing because of illness. We all know someone or three someones who can't think straight anymore, someone young who died from a freak heart attack or an aneurysm.
We have loads of solutions for every problem and threat. There's an entire library of solutions. They're not hard to find, either. They're not expensive. They're not any more difficult than what we're already doing.
The problem is that we won't do them.
They're not "normal."
The public seems to be waiting for someone to tell them things aren't normal. They seem to be waiting for someone to finally admit that we're in real trouble. They're looking in the wrong direction. They're waiting for a FOX or CNN news anchor to tell them what's really going on.
That's never going to happen.
There's nothing meaningful in this version of normal that everyone seems so willing to die and kill for. It's full of petty selfishness, ignorance, greed, and apathy. Painting it with unicorns and sparkles makes it worse.
Many of us want nothing to do with it.
We're going to disrupt.
None of us have to wait for permission anymore. You don't have to wait for permission to wear a mask. You don't have to wait for permission to choose a different lifestyle or career for the planet.
If you're worried about looking weird, stop.
Normal has a long list of casualties.
Don't help it.